Outside the window, there slides past that unimaginable and deserted vastness where night is coming on, the sun declining in ghastly blood-streaked splendour like a public execution across, it would seem, half a continent, where live only bears and shooting stars and the wolves who lap congealing ice from water that holds within it the entire sky. All white with snow as if under dustsheets, as if laid away eternally as soon as brought back from the shop, never to be used or touched. Horrors! And, as on a cyclorama, this unnatural spectacle rolls past at twenty-odd miles an hour in a tidy frame of lace curtains only a little the worse for soot and drapes of a heavy velvet of dark, dusty blue.
This was supposed to be yesterday. I was sitting on the Cardiff/London train, supposedly about to write this very column, and realising something quite terrible. My head was entirely empty. A vast echoing void. Bigger on the inside, but with nothing in it. You could drop a pebble in my brain and wait for an hour to hear it land. No actually, you couldn't - that would be aggressive and unhelpful, so keep your damn pebbles to yourself.
But there were too many points at which the other self could invade the self he wanted to preserve, and there were too many forms of invasion: certain words, sounds, lights, actions his hands or feet performed, and if he did nothing at all, heard and saw nothing, the shouting of some triumphant inner voice that shocked him and cowed him.
I went to school in drag, in art school and my day was completely different because everybody thought I was a chick. You should see me as a chick. So I went as a girl, as like an experiment and it worked really well and everyone was really nice to me but I couldn't talk obviously...you know train conductors were really cool to me on my commute...HA! I looked hot as a chick!
Tell me, Blaise, are we very far from Montmartre?'WorriesForget your worriesAll the stations full of cracks tilted along the wayThe telegraph wires they hang fromThe grimacing poles that gesticulate and strangle themThe world stretches lengthens and folds in like an accordion tormented by a sadistic handIn the cracks of the sky the locomotives in angerFleeAnd in the holes,The whirling wheels the mouths the voicesAnd the dogs of misfortune that bark at our heelsThe demons are unleashedIron railsEverything is off-keyThe broun-roun-roun of the wheelsShocksBouncesWe are a storm under a deaf man's skull...'Tell me, Blaise, are we very far from Montmartre?'Hell yes, you're getting on my nerves you know very well we're far awayOverheated madness bellows in the locomotivePlague, cholera rise up like burning embers on our wayWe disappear in the war sucked into a tunnelHunger, the whore, clings to the stampeding cloudsAnd drops battle dung in piles of stinking corpsesDo like her, do your job'Tell me, Blaise, are we very far from Montmartre?